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Troubleshooters: Taking cases to small claims court

READ MORE: Troubleshooters: Taking cases to small claims court
Here at NewsChannel 3 we get a lot of calls from folks who have been ripped off. Many of these viewers could probably resolve their problems in small claims court, but they may not know how. Most of you have seen this on TV: people hammering out their issues in front of Judge Judy. Here in New Hanover County we have small claims court. Clerk of Superior Court Brenda Tucker said, "A lot of times people are a little bit afraid of thinking they can go to court for themselves, because they're thinking that they've got to be able to speak a little more eloquently, use the long words and the legal jargon, and that's not necessarily the case." The local magistrate understands you haven't been to law school. But you're still required to prove your case. The first step: filing for a court date. The process is pretty quick and you're guaranteed a hearing within three weeks of the day you file. "This is your court date to keep for your records, it has your court date and time, and the case number and time," Tucker said. A few things to keep in mind: the person who you're filing against must live in the county where you're filing. That's the case for landlord Pamela Bass who's filing to have a tenant evicted from her home in New Hanover County. Bass said, "They lived up to none of the agreement, and now in order to get them out of my apartment I had to come through this process." Filing costs $75, plus $15 for a deputy to serve the defendant with court papers. The court only accepts cash or money orders. Small claims court is for cases involving $5,000 or less. The fill-in-the-blank forms you'll need to fill out are available online or at the courthouse. Tucker said, "A lot of people aren't aware of how simple it is sort of to exercise their rights and so they let it go." When your court date arrives you'll go to a small courtroom with the magistrate and the defendant. Remember, "he said, she said" won't hold up in court. If you have witnesses, documents, or other evidence to support your case, you need to bring them with you to your hearing. Finally, don't be late. Tucker said, "We give them a time, and they should be here at or before the appointed time, because in small claims court, if your case is set for 9:30 and you come in at 10:00, the magistrate has probably already dismissed your action." We should point out: winning your case is no guarantee you're going to get your money back. The magistrate may give you a judgment on paper for the money you're owed, but it may be difficult to collect. If the defendant doesn't pay you there will be a judgment against them on file at the courthouse and it will hurt their credit rating.

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Me an a friend of over 20

Me an a friend of over 20 years went into a resturant business together we started off going half on everything 50 50 straight down the middle I even help pay off a water bill that she had from a previous home that she lived in so we could get the water on at the resturant...ok well a week before opening she told me that she wanted to give me 40 percent back a. She get 60 percent...first red flag then she tells me if i miss a day she's deducting 2 percent for that month..second red flag...she said because it was a dream of I just told her she full of it an should of said that in the beginning instead of waiting until we bout to open cause I would of never agreed to that..bottom line I didn't go forward with her an she owes me 5000 dollars...its been two months an everytime I approach her about my money she wants to argue with me about her takin.g care of her family first but I have more kids than her an I really need my money back...can somebody please help me..

Renter not paying rent

I have a lady that has lived in one of our rentals four about four years, and is behind almost $8,000. I would like to know what I should do to either get my money from her, or write it off as a bad debt.

RE: Renter not paying rent

Move to another area of the country? Civil law is openly flouted here, with whomever is willing to break the law first and/or be the greater thugs and bullies winning every time.

That last is so uniformly the unwritten procedure of local law enforcement as to have the force of written statutes. It comes from the top down, too, so there's nowhere to go to get it corrected.